It has come to our attention that, despite the flurry of automotive news, there was something else going on this week. From what we’ve gathered, it had something to do with a contest between two guys, one wanted the other’s job, and there was a big hullabaloo about swings in states like Florida and Ohio.
Seriously though, after we were done voting as hard as we could, we returned our focus on the automotive industry, which played a pivotal role in last week’s election. But that’s role isn’t what topped the news this week, at least not from our perspective. Suzuki’s leaving the U.S. market, the fallout from the EPA’s readjustment of Hyundai and Kia fuel economy numbers continues, and we even got a revealing sneak peek at the next-generation Ford Mustang. So if you’ve had all the election postmortems you can handle, then read on with some soul-cleansing automotive news instead.
Monday, November 5
The week kicked off with the announcement that Suzuki was declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and discontinuing its automobile sales in the U.S. market. Motorcycle and watercraft fans, don’t worry; those aren’t going anywhere. While we never like seeing a car company pull the plug, few industry watchers were surprised by the announcement. Suzuki has struggled for years to find a place in the U.S. market, and its monthly sales are abysmal. Despite its early successes with the Suzuki Samurai in the mid-80s, the past few years haven’t been kind to the little automaker, even with critically acclaimed cars like the Suzuki SX4 subcompact, and the Suzuki Kizashi sedan in its portfolio. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that both of these vehicles will be available at fire-sale prices as Suzuki buys out its dealers and winds down its car business.
Tuesday, November 6
Last week, the EPA announced that it was reducing the fuel economy numbers on a bunch of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. While the Korean brands deal with the aftermath, and issue refunds based on how much extra gas owners used, the repercussions continue. Both companies are being sued, for example. But beyond that, our sister website Intellichoice has been forced to reevaluate its cost of ownership ratings on many of the vehicles. While most of the ratings fell by one degree–dropping from “Excellent” to “Above Average,” for example–the Kia Soul exclaim model fell from “Above Average” to “Below Average” based solely on its fuel economy. Check out the changes for yourself.
Wednesday, November 7
Wednesday we were greeted with a flurry of new spy photos of what looks like a perfectly normal 2013 Ford Mustang GT. But this is no ordinary car. Underneath the contemporary skin is the 2015 Ford Mustang. How do we know? Because our intrepid spy photographers caught the car with its hood up, where we can see numerous structural changes. From what we can see, it’s likely that the next-generation Mustang will look a lot like the Ford Evos concept car that wowed audiences at auto shows last year. Take a look for a full breakdown, including a side-by-side comparison of the two engine bays. And, Mustang fans fear not, there’s still room for a V-8 under the hood.
Thursday, November 8
OK, Ford. We’re already impressed with the new 2013 Ford Fusion. It looks great, it’s nice to drive, it offers a wide variety of engines and trim packages for an equally wide range of budgets, and so on. It turns out it’s safe, too. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted its battery of crash tests on the new Fusion, and it passed with flying colors. The car earned “Good” scores–the best possible–in all the tests, enough to earn it a Top Safety Pick from the Institute. Couple the Fusion’s crash durability with its stability control, active lane keeping assist, active cruise control, backup camera, and the plethora of other safety systems, and the Fusion shapes up to be as safe as it is stylish.
Friday, November 9
In a classic case of a few bad apples spoiling the whole bunch, Jeep this week was forced to recall nearly 750,000 Liberty and Grand Cherokee vehicles over a faulty restraint control module. Chrysler–Jeep’s parent company–estimates that only a scant 0.03 percent of vehicles are actually affected by the faulty part; that works out to a relatively scant 22,000 or so vehicles. The problem is that there’s no way to tell exactly which vehicles are affected, thus the better-safe-than-sued mentality. As usual, owners will be contacted about when to take their vehicles in for the free service to put things right.